Not Improving
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Author:  DadCoach [ 15 Apr 2019, 07:58 ]
Post subject:  Not Improving

my 12 year old son has been practicing and training 3 times a week for several months.

he is doing well in practice against good competition.

but in games he is not aggressive, lacks energy and seems to be disinterested. he is playing really good competition but seems to shy away from it. he could be much more physical and energetic. he just does not do it.

it does not appear he is getting any better.

he says he is having fun and believes he is getting better but i just don't see it. he wants to keep playing and training, which is great.

is this normal? do kids go through funks? does it sound like burnout?

the amount of time and effort he puts into basketball shows a great work ethic but i fear it will not pay off and discourage the work ethic he is developing.

any advice?

Author:  Coach Rob [ 16 Apr 2019, 15:47 ]
Post subject:  Re: Not Improving

Was he ever aggressive during games? Are you seeing a dropoff in interest and energy level or are you wondering why he's not more into it after practicing and training so much?

If he's never really been a player who gets in and mixes it up, you're probably looking at a bit more time for that to kick in. It seems to happen for various reasons at various times for kids. There are different levels of that aggression also.

I remember my 7th-grade boy's team just didn't have that ability to handle a more physical game as we entered into the competitive realms of AAU basketball. I tried smacking them around with football blocking pads when doing lay-ups, allowing the drills in practice to have more contact, and making our overall practices more competitive with consequences for the losers. During one practice, in a competitive drill, two of my boys (who were usually pretty chill) knocked into each other which turned into a pretty intense shoving match. I took advantage of the situation and applauded their competitiveness and downplayed the shoving match. Our team progressively changed after that, with me encouraging this newly found competitiveness.

When my son was 12, he and some of the other players on our team were invited to try out for another competitive team in the summer. His teammates made the cut and he ended up on the "B" competitive team. He was the best player on the "B" team which was a terrible team, so he had plenty of play time, but he was really bummed. That experience lit a huge fire inside and he asked if he could take a few private lessons. Long story short, he ended up rocking it out over the next several years and became one of my best players.

I'm sure I played a part in those situations described above, but honestly, that true competitive nature seems to need a spark from within the player himself. How that spark happens differs for each player.

Author:  DadCoach [ 16 Apr 2019, 20:16 ]
Post subject:  Re: Not Improving


He has competitive fire but it has not translated to the court. He does well in practice against good competition but in games he seems to be more timid. He works his tail off practicing and training but is much more content deferring to others to score and handle the ball. He is 6’1” and 200 pounds as a middle schooler but plays smaller. Gets frustrated when quicker kids go by him or more athletic kids jump higher than him to grab rebounds. Says he is having fun but seems apprehensive in games sometimes and at other times is a beast. Sometimes goes hard but sometimes seems like he is jogging on a Sunday stroll. Is this normal for kids his age? Is there anything to do to help him? I assume the practice and training helps but should I cut him back?

Author:  Coach Rob [ 17 Apr 2019, 17:07 ]
Post subject:  Re: Not Improving

Appreciate the feedback. I think that is a pretty common occurrence at that age. One thing I've learned over the years, never judge a player at the younger levels. I've watched so many players change from middle school into high school.

In terms of cutting back the training, I'd ask your son how many times he wants to train/practice per week. He's getting to that age where the more that motivation comes from him, the better.

Your handle says, "DadCoach", so I'm not sure if you're coaching him or someone else is, but I would ask the coach what he/she thinks about working on his intensity in the game. A lot of times what we make a big deal out of improves. So, if the coach makes a big deal when your son's intensity comes through on the court, that might help.

If you're coaching him, I'd make the drills in practice more competitive. Harder than it would be in a game. Have consequences for the losers.

Overall, I'd give it some time and try to encourage your son when you see that motivation coming from within him.

Author:  DadCoach [ 22 Apr 2019, 14:25 ]
Post subject:  Re: Not Improving

thanks again...

i was just getting worried there was no improvement despite all the training and practice...

i have had many coaches tell me there is nothing bad that comes out of being in the gym and working on things properly...and with the work the player will naturally get better...

they say it develops more confidence, better footwork, and improved skill...and it happens very gradually but eventually you will notice the improvement...

hopefully they are right! i stress hard work ultimately pays off...i don't want to be wrong!

Author:  Coach Rob [ 22 Apr 2019, 16:53 ]
Post subject:  Re: Not Improving

DadCoach wrote:
thanks again...i was just getting worried there was no improvement despite all the training and practice...i have had many coaches tell me there is nothing bad that comes out of being in the gym and working on things properly...and with the work the player will naturally get better...
Those are definitely true statements. However, a lot of variables come in to play from what a player is working on in the gym to their overall ability to learn and execute new concepts.

The biggest help for my son in 6th grade was working with a coach (besides me) who specialized in one on one sessions. We paid for some private one on one lessons and that coach was able to focus in on very specific areas. My son still worked on other skills sets, but I noticed a huge improvement when this coach honed in on a select few areas that needed immediate attention and had quicker results. Maybe your son is already doing this, but a lot of times I see players practicing a wide variety of skills spending a little bit on each skill. Just talking out loud.

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